( MAKES 8 BLOCKS )
If you have ever wanted to make cheese this is a great recipe to start with as it requires minimal skill or expertise. You will need a 12-litre pot, a 20-litre pot, a large whisk, a cheese mould, a piece of muslin, a rack and a cooking thermometer. You can halve the recipe but for the effort involved I always like to make a lot as it keeps so well.
- Put a chlorine tablet (the same as you’d use for nappies) in a bucket of water and rinse a 12-litre pot, a 20-litre pot, a large whisk, a cheese mould, a piece of muslin and a rack, to sterilise.
- Put the milk in the smaller pot and put this pot inside the larger one. Pour water into the large pot up to the same level as the milk in the small pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring now and then, until milk reaches 29ºC, then turn off the heat – it will reach the desired temperature of 32ºC with the residual heat in the pot.
- Stir the rennet into the 4 tsp boiled and cooled water. Whisk into heated milk and allow to stand for 45 minutes – it will hold at this temperature and you should not need to heat it. It will separate into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). Cut curds into 1cm cubes in a criss-cross pattern, then at 45 degree angles in two directions through the middle.
- Return to heat (still in the water bath), stirring gently until the temperature reaches 36ºC. The curds and whey will further separate. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain through muslin, reserving the whey in a pot. Line mould with muslin and place it over a draining rack. Transfer curds to the mould. Fold in muslin, put lid on mould and weight with a bucket of water for at least 1 hour.
- Remove cheese from the mould and cut into 8 pieces. Bring whey to 85-90ºC then add the cheese in batches of 4 pieces, cooking for 15 minutes without stirring. When ready, it will spring back like a sponge. Lift out and place on the rack over a draining tray. Sprinkle both sides with a little salt and fold each piece in half.
- Make a brine with 4 cups water, 2 cups reserved whey and ¼ cup salt. Store haloumi in brine in the fridge for up to a month. It can be eaten the same day but improves after 24 hours. If it starts to go slimy, rinse it off and replace the brine with fresh brine.
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